Have you ever loved a restaurant so much after your first time there that you went back again the very next day? That's exactly what I did after my first visit to Farmbyrd, the great "Rotisserie and Fry" restaurant in Plano.
My wife gets all the credit on this one- always looking for healthier options she honed in on the word "rotisserie" and repeatedly threw it out as an option any time we were undecided on where to eat. For me personally, rotisserie is not usually as big a selling point but I'm glad she pushed for it - Farmbyrd's menu offers a variety of options, among them one of the best items to ever cross my tastebuds.
Walking up to Farmbyrd it began to win me over with the vibe before I was even inside. Under the overhang of the the classy Preston Parker Crossing shopping center, a vintage neon beer sign in the window and picnic table seating outdoors quickly dismissed any concerns that Farmbyrd would be too pretentious for me to enjoy myself. Hand-painted lettering on the windows and aged wood door framing promised craft cocktails to accompany the chicken; so while Farmbyrd may lean to the casual side, it's certainly not a fast food chicken joint.
Inside was more of the same comfy, thoughtful vibe. A friendly bar to the right advertised a variety of local beers alongside domestic standards. To the left, the lack of a hostess stand confirmed a open seating, waiter free, dining experience appropriate to the fare. Up at the front counter with an open view of where the magic happens, chalkboards advertised the daily specials and we grabbed a menu to see what Farmbyrd had to offer.
With choices like a "Chopped Prime Rib Sandwich" and "Country Fried Ribeye with Poblano Gravy" in addition to it's already tempting chicken options, it was not a decision easily made. My wife, still focused on making as healthy a choice as possible, quickly ordered the Rotissiere Chicken and a Super Greens salad, so with the pressure now on me I defaulted to one of my all time favorite meals, the Fried Catfish. For my side I tried to slightly cancel out the "fried" with some greenery, opting for the Braised Greens w/ Red Chili Vinegar.
My catfish portions were giant - thick in the middle but not undercooked with the breading equally great in consistency. The downfall of Catfish is so often over-breading but Farmbyrd's take was perfect. The golden-brown shell was crispy but not too thick and seasoned with some spice though not so much as to overpower the Grade-A piece of fish. I'd easily put Farmbyrd on my Fried Catfish medal stand and probably even give it the gold; I'd like to think coming from a Catfish aficianado like myself that that's extremely high praise.
My gamble on the braised greens was also a winner- the Red Chili vinegar playing off tart apple cider and salty bacon* flavors made for a uniquely tasty accompaniment to the catfish (*though maybe not as healthy as I thought).
My wife's chicken was gone by the time I was done putting Catfish in my belly, so while I can't personally weigh in on the rotissiere, she certainly seemed to like it. I did snag a bite of her "Supergreen Salad" and that was good too if you're into the uber-healthy sort of thing. As we left I'd pretty much fallen in whatever the food version of love is with Farmbyrd.
The next day, lunchtime errands found me a block away from Farmbyrd; I didn't plan to be back quite that soon but the universe clearly put me there for a reason. This time around I decided to get two different meals to maximize variety and take the leftovers for dinner. Of course one option had to be the Catfish because when you find the greatest ever of something, you have to see whether it was just a fluke. I'm happy to say it was just as good on round 2. The other item I tried was the fried Leg and Thigh combo. After regularly eating fast food chicken the quality difference in eating "farm-raised, responsibly raised" chicken was apparent. Getting chicken also meant that this trip I'd get to also use the sauce bar I'd enviously watched my wife utilize the night before.
The fried chicken was served with "Byrd Sauce", an original not too far removed from honey mustard; but the sauce bar also included Ranch, "Sweet Sassy Molassy" (BBQ sauce), Reckless Red (a hot pepper sauce), and "The Hulk" (a verde salsa). I gave them all a try, and while each one was good, I quickly discovered my favorite to be my own mix of the Ranch and "Reckless Red" hot sauce. Spicy Ranch achievement unlocked!
If you thought my ordering 2 mains meant I'd miss the opportunity to try another side you are mistaken! This time I went with "Clarence's Mac & Stuff", simply described by the menu as a "daily mac creation". Farmbyrd's track record made me confident in rolling the dice and I'm happy to say Clarence smiled upon me that day, friends. This mac n' cheese clearly would've even been great plain, but that day's additions of pulled chicken, spicy red chiles, garlic, and green onion mixed in made it both one-of-a-kind and stellar.
Before I left I wanted to compliment the man behind this amazing food, I got a chance to chat with Chef and co-owner Ryan Carbery. Ryan is an experienced chef from a family chock full of restaurant experience who moved from St. Louis to start Farmbyrd with his partners. Among those partners, Tim McLaughlin, who also developed and co-owns Lockhart Smokehouse with locations in Dallas and Plano. Ryan was just as nice as he was passionate about making great food; he and Tim's pedigree and expertise showed through in every bit of what I experienced at Farmbyrd- I cannot recommend it enough!
Follow them on social media for pictures of many more delicious things!
@farmbyrd_plano on Instagram
And of course go taste for yourself at the intersection of Parker and Preston in Plano.
3308 Preston Road, Suite 380
Plano, Texas 75093